First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the irresistible compulsion to thoroughly remake your dearly beloved. The title of Oregon Cabaret Theatre's latest musical production sums it up succinctly: "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the irresistible compulsion to thoroughly remake your dearly beloved. The title of Oregon Cabaret Theatre's latest musical production sums it up succinctly: "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

From Friday, June 11, through Tuesday, Aug. 30, OCT's musical revue skewers contemporary male-female relationships. It's a song-filled romp through the dating and mating challenges facing inherently incompatible genders.

The show was first presented at the theater in 2007.

"It was just such a big hit," says artistic director Jim Giancarlo. "People just loved it. It had that kind of buzz — a 'watercooler' kind of show that people talked about the next day with their friends. People came back to see the show again or to bring somebody else they thought should see it."

The humor in songs and sketches is instantly recognizable, emotional shorthand for the wincingly familiar relationship foibles that few of us avoid. Intrepid explorers of the dating jungle will find themselves in numbers like "Cantata for a First Date," "Single Man Drought," and "I Will Be Loved Tonight." Gratefully married couples will experience flashbacks from their single years: the fear-laced hopes, the insecurities that prompt the insincerities, the hideous gowns that haunt the closet of the perpetual bridesmaid.

Wedded bliss quickly gives way to the sleep-starved trials of parenthood. Baby talk creeps into adult conversations. A guy's beloved wheels now feels like hell on wheels during squabbling family road trips.

Eventually, with wisdom borne of age, experience and considerable fatigue comes acceptance of mutual imperfections.

"I kind of love the end of the show, maybe because I'm old," says Giancarlo. "A lot of the show is funny, but at the end there is a song that says 'Shouldn't I Be Less in Love with You?' It's when you look at your partner and say, 'My God, I'm still in love with you. Statistics say that we should be divorced, but I'm still madly in love with you.' "

"The overall message of the show is that it's not easy, but it's worth it."

The universal appeal of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" has made it one of the longest running off-Broadway shows. Written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, the musical has been translated into 13 languages and seen in productions around the world.

Director and choreographer Kevin P. Hill also directed the 2007 OCT production. Musical direction is by Jennifer Schloming, set and lighting design is by Craig Hudson. Costumes are designed by Kerri Lea Robbins. Kathleen Mahoney is the stage manager. The band for the production is Meagan Iverson on piano and Robert DuBow on violin.

Returning to re-create their roles from the 2007 production are Damon Calderwood and Kymberli Colbourne. Colbourne recently played Liddy the Cockney Maid in the Cabaret's production of "Whodunit: The Musical." Making their Cabaret debuts are Allison Rich from Chico, Calif., and Colum Parke Morgan of Austin, Texas.

"The cast is having such a great time together," says Giancarlo. "When you're up in your office and you hear them laughing hysterically in rehearsal, you know it's gonna be great."

Performances are Wednesday through Monday at 8 p.m. Sunday brunch matinees are at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $19 to $34. Gourmet dining and brunch are available with advance reservations. Appetizers, desserts and beverages also are available without reservations. Ticket prices do not include food or beverages.

For tickets, visit www.oregoncabaret.com, call 541-488-2902, or stop by the box office, First and Hargadine streets, Ashland.

Katherine Hannon is a freelance writer.